I Am Offering this Poem

By Jimmy Santiago Baca b. 1952
I am offering this poem to you,
since I have nothing else to give.
Keep it like a warm coat
when winter comes to cover you,
or like a pair of thick socks
the cold cannot bite through,

                         I love you,

I have nothing else to give you,
so it is a pot full of yellow corn
to warm your belly in winter,
it is a scarf for your head, to wear
over your hair, to tie up around your face,

                         I love you,

Keep it, treasure this as you would
if you were lost, needing direction,
in the wilderness life becomes when mature;
and in the corner of your drawer,
tucked away like a cabin or hogan
in dense trees, come knocking,
and I will answer, give you directions,
and let you warm yourself by this fire,
rest by this fire, and make you feel safe

                         I love you,

It’s all I have to give,
and all anyone needs to live,
and to go on living inside,
when the world outside
no longer cares if you live or die;
remember,

                         I love you.

Jimmy Santiago Baca, “I Am Offering this Poem” from Immigrants in Our Own Land and Selected Early Poems. Copyright © 1990 by Jimmy Santiago Baca. Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation.

Source: Immigrants in Our Own Land and Selected Early Poems (New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1990)

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Poet Jimmy Santiago Baca b. 1952

POET’S REGION U.S., Southwestern

Subjects Relationships, Love, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets, Romantic Love

 Jimmy Santiago Baca

Biography

Born in 1952 in Santa Fe of Chicano and Apache descent, Jimmy Santiago Baca was abandoned by his parents and at 13 ran away from the orphanage where his grandmother had placed him. He was convicted on drug charges in 1973 and spent five years in prison. There he learned to read and began writing poetry. His semiautobiographical novel in verse, Martin and Meditations on the South Valley (1987), received the 1988 Before Columbus . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Love, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets, Romantic Love

POET’S REGION U.S., Southwestern

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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